Leo Marx is the Kenan Professor of American Cultural History (Emeritus) at MIT and most recently the editor, with Bruce Mazlish, of Progress:Fact or Illusion? (July 1999)


The Full Thoreau

The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture

by Lawrence Buell

Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Natural Science

by Laura Dassow Walls
The Puritans of today’s environmental movement, the ecocentrists, have recently made Henry Thoreau their patron saint. The defense of the environment, they believe, requires us to adopt a wholly new way of thinking about our relations with nature. First, they argue, we must abandon the delusory notion that humanity’s chief …

The Struggle Over Thoreau

The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau: Journal Volume 1: 1837-1844

Editor-in-Chief, Elizabeth Hall Witherell

The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau: Journal Volume 2: 1842-1848

Editor-in-Chief, Elizabeth Hall Witherell
“‘Tis said that the views of nature held by any people determine all their institutions.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson,English Traits Ecocentrists are the Puritans of today’s environmental movement. Dedicated to changing the way we think about humanity’s relations with nature, they are critical of anyone—whether an environmentalist or a despoiler—who …

A Visit to Mr. America

The American Newness: Culture and Politics in the Age of Emerson

by Irving Howe
Individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but in the long run it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness. —Alexis de Tocqueville Probably no impression Tocqueville had during his 1831–1832 tour of the United States was more provocative—or dismaying—than …

All in the Family

Hawthorne's Secret: An Un-Told Tale

by Philip Young
“For in this world of lies, Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in the woodlands; and only by cunning glimpses will she reveal herself, as in Shakespeare and other masters of the great Art of Telling the—even though it be covertly, and by snatches.” —Herman Melville, …

Closely Watched Trains

Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene

by John R. Stilgoe
Of all the great modern innovations, the railroad may well be the one to which historians have accorded the most dramatic and far-reaching influence. No sooner had the first passenger railroads begun operations in England and the United States, around 1830, than the public was seized by what was called, …